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Sky Broadband UK Prep IPv6 But Scrap Annex M for BE Broadband Users

Thursday, May 30th, 2013 (8:04 am) - Score 4,330

Sky Broadband’s (BSkyB) Director of Communications Products, Lyssa McGowan, last night held an “Ask the MD” session on BE Broadband’s forum that revealed a little more about the operators plans for BE and O2’s fixed line broadband customers. Some of the news was good, some bad.

As everybody knows Sky recently spent £180m+ to gobble up O2 and BE Broadband’s base of fixed line home broadband and phone customers (here and here), which has resulted in a lot of questions concerning the new owners support (or lack thereof) for some of BE and O2’s more advanced features (e.g. static IP addresses, line bonding, customised line profiles and faster upload speeds etc.).

Unfortunately last night’s session with McGowan was full of inconclusive remarks like “we haven’t made any decisions“, “we haven’t got a final view” and “we’re still looking at it“, which indicates that Sky still hasn’t reached a position on many of the features (e.g. support for Static IP’s and customised line profiles are still being considered). But thankfully there were a few responses of note.

Firstly Sky said that it wasn’t going to cut any of BE’s customers off for business use (BE’s top-end packages were always a bit more business orientated), although McGowan also said that Sky would have “no problem with any type of residential use“. Elsewhere users of BE’s Line Bonding service were given a cryptic reply which suggests that Sky will abandon the service.

Q: What happens to the Line Bonding service?

A: We will try and minimise disruption to Line Bonding customers and give you plenty of notice ahead of migration to our network, which will likely happen early next year – and if Sky Fibre becomes available in your area then we hope you’ll choose to switch to that instead of looking for an alternative line bonding service.

Customers of BE’s top-end package, which benefit from faster ADSL2+ upload speeds through Annex M technology, were similarly told that “it’s unlikely we’ll also rollout Annex M on our DSL network” because Sky has “invested in fibre instead“. Sky also appeared hesitant to support Multiple Static IP ranges (address blocks) but did say that they might still support a single static IP address, which has yet to be decided.

In terms of IPv6 support, which BE’s current platform doesn’t support, McGowan said, “we’ve already done a lot of work on this and are currently completing network infrastructure upgrades. We also are looking at IT stack ready for this and are looking to launch in 2014“; an interesting development for Sky’s own customers too.

The comments, which have been summarised quite nicely by the BE Usergroup, also noted that the future of @bethere.co.uk’s customer email addresses was still undecided. Likewise the BE brand itself was also being debated, with Sky currently considering whether or not to keep it on as a standalone ISP. As a side note it’s already known that Sky will allow BE customers to keep their own routers.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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